John McCain on Social Security

Trust Fund is a ticking time bomb, set to go of fin 2014

We’ve got a ticking time bomb out there. And it’s called the Social Security Trust Fund. And starting in 2014 there’ll be more money going out than in. There’s a $5 trillion unfunded liability out there in the form of the Social Security Trust Fund. If we can put the money in quick, then we will be able to allow people to invest their payroll taxes into investments of their choosing and make a huge amount of difference in the solvency of their retirement fund.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

More believe in Elvis than in getting Social Security check

In good times, when we have a surplus, we should give the middle income Americans a tax break. They need it. They pay as much as 40 percent of their income in taxes. But at the same time, people are telling me: save Social Security; put some money into Medicare and pay down that debt. And don’t put that burden on future generations of Americans. More young Americans believe Elvis is alive than believe that they’ll ever see a Social Security check.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Option to invest 20% of payroll taxes in private accounts

McCain will present today his first comprehensive plan for apportioning the spoils of the nation’s current prosperity, calling for. a program to shore up Social Security through the establishment of individual retirement accounts. McCain also specifically allocates money to help Medicare, which like Social Security faces a financial shortfall as the population ages. He calls for workers to have the option of investing at least 20% of their Social Security payroll taxes in private accounts.
Source: New York Times, p. A21 Jan 11, 2000

Every dollar off-budget - no ifs, ands, or excuses

I will not allow your Social Security money to be used for any purpose except Social Security - no ifs, ands, or excuses. Social Security money will be taken completely off budget - every single dollar. So politicians can’t get their hands on your retirement money to finance another big government scheme. I’ll reserve more than sixty percent of the surplus to save Social Security. And I’ll do it in the first year of my presidency.
Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH Sep 27, 1999

Disallow using Trust Fund for “emergency” spending

McCain decried the use of Social Security trust funds for such “emergency” spending as the subsidized reindeer ranches found in the recent emergency spending bill. He also criticized the “lockbox” bill passed last month by the House of Representatives because of its loophole allowing for just such “emergency spending.” “Let’s take the Social Security Trust Fund completely off budget,” McCain declared, so that “no politician can ever use it again for any purpose other than your retirement.”
Source: “Press Releases” Jun 2, 1999

Allow workers to invest privately

McCain today called for allowing workers for the first time to invest a portion of their Social Security in private accounts.McCain called for “bold, genuine reform that allows workers to invest some of their Social Security savings, privately, in higher yielding accounts.” “Promoting investment in America by every American worker would give lower-income Americans the ownership they deserve in the country we share, as well as grow their Social Security more rapidly,” said McCain.
Source: “Press Releases” Jun 2, 1999

Earnings test penalizes productivity in retirees

McCain again called for the elimination of the Social Security earnings test, calling it “an obscene penalty” that punishes Americans aged 65 to 70 for remaining productive in their retirement years. The loss of benefits for such work “hits hardest and most cruelly at lower-income seniors, many of whom must work to pay for basic living expenses. It completely fails the fairness test.”
Source: “Press Releases” Jun 2, 1999

Eliminate the “earnings test” which taxes benefits

McCain is leading the fight to eliminate the unfair Social Security earnings test, which penalizes seniors who need to work to make ends meet by taxing their Social Security benefits by $1 for every $3 they earn over $15,500. McCain believes everyone who has worked and invested in the Social Security system must be guaranteed to receive the benefits they were promised. This guarantee must be fulfilled in a way that does not put an unfair burden on American workers.
Source: “Position Papers” 5/24/99 May 24, 1999

Lock up Trust Fund; devote 62% of budget surplus to it

McCain will make sure Social Security funds are used only for Social Security. His plan will lock up the entire Social Security Trust Fund keeping it out of the hands of politicians. And he will devote 62% of the budget surplus exclusively to shoring up the Social Security program. He will not allow Washington bureaucrats to fund special interest projects and new government programs with the Social Security money hard-working Americans have paid into the system for years.
Source: “Position Papers” 5/24/99 May 24, 1999

Put surplus into Trust Fund; fulfill promised benefits

Source: Project Vote Smart, 1998, Jul 2, 1998

Voted YES on using the Social Security Surplus to fund tax reductions.

Vote on a motion to table (or kill) the motion to recommit the bill to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee with instructions directing the committee to "correct the fact that the bill uses" Social Security surpluses for tax breaks.
Bill S.1429 ; vote number 1999-236 on Jul 30, 1999

Voted YES on allowing personal retirement accounts.

Vote on an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Finance Committee should consider legislation to use the federal budget surplus to establish personal retirement accounts as a supplement to Social Security.
Bill S.Con.Res.86 ; vote number 1998-56 on Apr 1, 1998

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